Archive for November 2012


Review: Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Published 11/26/12  (Modified 2/4/14)

Review: Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express By Peter Andrew

Editor's note: This offer expired and is no longer available.

I just got home from the supermarket and am depressed. It's only my partner and I living in the house now, yet we spend an absolute fortune on groceries and the like. Today's shopping and a tankful of gas came to close to $400, which is way more than our friend Sarah would spend, and she has a husband and four kids to buy for. Of course, it's my own fault. I know very well that I couldn't pick out my favorite cola in a blind tasting, but insist on buying Coke. And it's the same for all those other premium brands that may or may not be better than their cheaper competitors.

Worse, I spent many years working in advertising and marketing, and have a pretty good idea of how branding works. I'm more depressed about being an idiot than I am about the $400.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express would be great for me -- and not just because I'd love the 150 Reward Dollars sign-up bonus that's currently being offered (see below). However, it is usually marketed at people like Sarah: those with big families for whom a trip to the supermarket is inevitably costly, and who are also likely to spend serious sums on gas and in department stores. That's because this particular piece of plastic offers truly exceptional cash-back rewards for those types of purchases ...

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5 ways to secure your credit card apps

Published 11/21/12

5 ways to secure your credit card apps By Jennifer Gregory

I have a bad habit of losing my smartphone. My friends often call me on my land line to tell me that my cell phone is sitting on their kitchen counter or that they picked it up at the soccer field where I left it. But after recently installing a mobile payment application that's connected to my credit card, I realized that the stakes are now much higher than just missing an important phone call.

Since I am hoping that I will have a tablet under the tree this year, giving me yet another item to worry about, I began researching ways to protect the credit card information I keep on my devices. While many credit card apps include several layers of security features, there is still a risk your information could fall into the wrong hands.

Here are five ways to keep your credit card information secure on mobile devices:

1. Enable password protection

Yes, it is a pain to enter your password every time you want to send a text. But having to cancel your credit cards because of fraud is an even bigger hassle. Even if you do not have mobile processing apps on your tablet, you may have your credit card connected to Amazon.com or another website where a thief could do significant damage ...

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The lifetime cost of your lattes

Published 11/20/12  (Modified 11/21/12)

By MoneyBlueBook

Much is said in personal finance about the cost of a daily cup of coffee. But can foregoing your morning latte really improve your financial situation?

This MoneyBlueBook.com infographic breaks down the cost of your caffeine habit -- and the potential benefit of dropping it.

Click on the image below to see the full graphic.

Cost of coffee graphic

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Can digital rewards beat credit card rewards?

Published 11/8/12

Can digital rewards beat credit card rewards? By Justin Boyle

Times are changing in the customer loyalty game. Although credit card reward programs still offer attractive ways to get bonuses for your spending, digital rewards companies are popping up from coast to coast, offering consumers the chance to earn special perks in exchange for shopping at their favorite businesses.

But are these programs enough to lure customers away from their rewards credit cards?

How digital rewards work

You may have seen signs of this new wave already. You go to your local coffee shop for a large dark roast with an extra shot, as usual, and there's a display urging you to sign up for a program that promises rewards for the purchases you make at the store -- and perhaps at other local retailers too ...

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5 tips for handling 0 percent credit card offers

Published 11/5/12

5 tips for handling 0 percent credit card offers By Julie Bawden-Davis

When a credit card company says they'll give me free credit for 12 months, I consider paying off my balance before the end of the period -- and avoiding the interest charges that will appear if I don't -- a challenge.

My romance with these offers started several years ago when the receptionist for my son's orthodontist flashed me a toothy grin and handed me the bill for his braces. I gulped at the total and decided to apply for a card that offered a zero-interest period to help handle the expenses. I paid that balance off before the end of the period, and I've since financed several dental and veterinary bills the same way.

But before you opt to use a 0 percent offer to pay down your bills, here are five tips to keep in mind ...

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Citi ThankYou Preferred Card – Bonus Point Offer

Published 11/1/12  (Modified 11/5/13)

Citi ThankYou Preferred Card – Bonus Point Offer By Peter Andrew

Editor's Note:  This offer is no longer available.

When I was in my early 20s, I once wrote to my bank manager: "Don't buy the champagne yet," I advised, "but it looks as if I'll be relocating, and will have to move my account." He replied, saying that I could keep my account where it was, and added: "As for the champagne, we thought we'd wait till you got into credit." Yes, I was a financial disaster, largely because micromanaging money paperwork was just so boring. I'm better now only as a result of online banking and card services that make it easy to keep track of balances.

Still, one thing remains certain: I'd never be able to make the most of those credit cards that offer bonus rewards on categories of spending that change each quarter. You have to remember to check what spending categories are current and upcoming so you can schedule purchases accordingly. You have to remember to register each quarter to qualify. You have to note spending caps on categories. I know there are people out there who are willing and able to invest that sort of time and effort -- and I admire them -- but I'm not one of them.

If you're not either, then you might want to check out the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card – Bonus Point Offer, which is currently offering 20,000 bonus ThankYou points a sign-up bonus worth $200 in gift cards or other great rewards after you make $1,500 in purchases on the card during the first three months of account opening...

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